Natural gas fracking: an update

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A drilling rig near a barn in Springville, Pa. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Hour 1

The EPA has set the first air pollution rules for natural gas drilling, requiring gas drillers to capture toxic gases, like benzene, that are released during the drilling process. The new rules go into effect in 2015.  The Obama administration has also proposed rules that would force companies to disclose the chemicals used in the fracking process, when a pressurized mixture of water, sand and chemicals is pumped into shale rock to release the gas. Pennsylvania has passed a law that forces drilling companies to disclose the chemicals in the fracking fluid to healthcare professionals, but only if they sign a confidentiality agreement.  The natural gas drilling business has exploded around the country, particularly in Pennsylvania along the gas-rich Marcellus Shale formation in the central and northeastern parts of the state. But with the gas boom have come serious concerns about both the environmental and human health effects. This hour, we’ll get an update on the gas industry, the new regulations and the communities at the heart of the drilling. Our guests are SUSAN PHILLIPS, reporter for State Impact Pennsylvania, a collaboration with NPR, WHYY and WITF in Harrisburg; and ABRAHM LUSTGARTEN, an environmental reporter for ProPublica.

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[audio: 051412_100630.mp3]

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